“Human for a Day,” this week’s episode in which Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) must live a day without her powers, is possibly the most intense of the season so far. While the title of the episode suggested a much cuter, more comedic episode, what Supergirl did instead was create an action packed hour of sacrifice, heroism, and humanity.
Last week, Kara’s fight with Red Tornado drained her of her powers. This week, we open with Kara under strict observation from the DEO, as the hologram of her mother (Laura Benanti) tells Kara and the viewers that her powers should turn on eventually. Until then, she needs to keep herself safe.
What shines this week, for one, is Benoist’s emotional take on a de-powered Kara. Benoist spends the first half of the episode in mourning, which puts an interesting spin on Kara’s character. Though she spends the first five minutes doing cute things like catching a cold, when the earthquake hits, it shoves Kara right into the heart of the action.
James (Mehcad Brooks) was a real standout this week, performing stunning acts of heroism, despite having no powers of his own. That was one of the most stunning aspects of this week’s show, really: watching Kara’s friends and allies band together to create something as powerful as Supergirl herself.
Cat Grant’s (Calista Flockhart) broadcast to the city is a shining beacon of the show’s message. Paralleled with Kara stopping a crime despite her lack of powers, Supergirl created a true moment of power without brute force. It’s heartfelt and intense all at once, and will leave viewers cheering for both Kara and Cat by the time the scene is over.
Keep the tissues handy for this episode, by the way. Whether it’s Kara realizing that she can’t always save everyone or Alex learning the truth about her father, this episode knows how to pack that pathos punch.
Which brings us to our quote of the week: “No hero can save everyone. Not even Superman. But a real hero never stops trying.”
That was the main idea this week, as our heroine bravely navigated her way through a powerless landscape. It’s what you do that makes you a hero, not what you are. The team of Kara, James, and Winn (Jeremy Jordan) worked together and saved lives, despite the tense differences between the three of them. And Cat, with her usual attitude in tow, made a real impact this episode.
Worth noting is that Maxwell Lord (Peter Facinelli) grows increasingly Lex Luthor-esque, and will likely continue to do so until he reaches his peak villain potential.
We finally found out what happened to Alex’s father this week, and got a closer look at the relationship between Alex and the man we thought was Hank. It turns out (MAJOR SPOILER) that Alex’s father died protecting one of the DEO’s most sought-after targets.
That alien is J’onn J’onzz, aka the Martian Manhunter. He has been posing as Hank Henshaw for over 10 years, both in order to restructure the DEO and to look after Alex. That’s right. All those comments about Hank “dad-ing the heck” out of Alex were spot on. J’onn has been looking after her as though she was his own daughter.
Though she’s not allowed to tell Kara Hank’s secret, only time will tell where the relationship between Alex and J’onn will go from here. Will she be able to trust him again? And what does J’onn’s arrival mean for seeing other DC aliens on the show?
Next week’s mid-season finale promises a battle between Kara and her aunt, Alura. Stay tuned to see how that pans out!
Supergirl airs on CBS, Mondays at 8/7c.